How many times in a day do you end up writing to communicate with someone? Chances are, more than 90%. Whether it’s emails, text messages, or direct messages via social media platforms, writing is a skill that comes into play every single day of our lives. Depending on where you’re working and what your role requires you to do, being a content writer will come into play one way or another. Content writing is a booming industry. You’ll find lists upon lists of content writing jobs on almost every freelancing platform. It is also considered a full-time role in creative industries. Just like any other task, being a skilled content writer requires a lot of work. If you’re an aspiring content writer, here are some tips that will help you enhance your writing skills to the next level:
Know Your Audience
Before writing anything, it is imperative to know who you are writing for. Who is going to read what you are writing? What tone and style of writing would be most suitable for the audience? Understand what the readers want to read and then start writing your blog post, article or whatever it is that is required of you as a content writer.
Know Your Purpose
Being a content writer, you should be very clear about the purpose of the piece of writing that you are about to compose. What message do you want to deliver? What exactly do you want to communicate? Often, writer get lost in translation of their own words while writing on a topic. So it is important to jot down your purpose, and then list down the areas you want to cover that fulfill your purpose. Then set off to writing.
Let’s face it. A huge responsibility on the shoulders of a content writer is to produce original work. Being sued for copying someone else’s work or being listed at the lowest end of a search engine because your writing lacks originality are punishments that no content writer wants on their plate. When you start writing content, it is recommended you read at least 5-6 articles/research work on a similar topic, form your opinion about the topic and then begin writing on it. This way, you’ll be less likely to copy sentences and pick up paragraphs from any one else’s work.
Research, research, research
A well-researched piece of writing is always known to be passed around. Anything that you set off to write about, it is highly recommended that you conduct thorough research on it first. If you know your topic well enough to write a compelling piece about it, you’ll be able to engage a good number of readers towards it. To do this, you need to know exactly where to study your topic from and find well-known sources of information to type it.
Source and citations
Providing credible information to readers has become paramount in the ever-increasing loops of digital and social media grapevines. Link your content to authentic and reputable sources of information whenever you factually state anything in your written material. Include external links and give references to articles from websites where you’ve picked up information from them. Search engines tend to pick up trending articles links from written work and place it at the top of search lists.
As a writer, you need to be quick to adapt to the changing reading needs and wants of the audience. You also need to keep pace with the ever-evolving modern world. What is trending today, may not even be remembered tomorrow. Readers’ focus shifts as quickly as the blink of an eye.
Seach Engine Optimization (SEO)
You’ve written a well-crafted piece of writing, now how do you get the attention of your readers? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tool that will help link your written work with your target audience. Your target audience will be able to find you through SEO. This means you have to make sure that while doing your research you also make a list of specific keywords that you will include in your content to help rank your writing higher on search results as compared to competitors. A pro-tip is to include images in your written work as these are definite to reach to a larger audience as compared to written work without images.
This is an area that is often overlooked. Proof-reading after completion is important because it helps you identify where you’ve missed a single letter, punctuation or even word. These things may seem small but may be a big turn-off for readers. So proof-read, proof-read, and proof-read some more before you finalize your content!
7 Cs of Communication
How do you make sure your writing makes sense? Simple – follow the 7Cs of communication:
- Conciseness – making your you stick to the point and keep it concise when content writing is of utmost importance. You will quickly lose the attention of your readers if your written work diverts from the main topic of interest.
- Concreteness – Factually backing up your opinion or perspective is significant during content writing. Quote specific instances to build concreteness in your written work. This helps the reader resonate well with your written work and endorses your content as being highly credible.
- Courtesy – You’re writing as a human, for humans. Ensure that your writing incorporates empathy and courtesy towards the readers as well. It will go a long way.
- Completeness – Make sure that you content, your paragraphs and your sentences are complete. Follow the 5ws and 1 H approach – Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. Answer these questions and complete your content in a jiffy!
- Clarity – This is probably one of the most important Cs to consider when writing on any topic. Your readers will not be able to comprehend your writing if it lacks clarity. Be very clear in your mind about what you want the content to be based on, plan and then start writing. Only then will you be able to coherently transform your thoughts into words.
- Correctness – Ensure that what you are writing is correct. Check your data, facts and figures. Moreover, check your spellings (especially if you’re naming someone or their business or even a place). People take high offence in the latter if you get it wrong.
- Consideration – Focus on your readers while composing any piece of written work. When your writing is going to be more about them and less about you, you’ll notice engagement levels soaring.
Too much to take in? That’s alright. Take baby steps and master one area before you move on to incorporate the next. Quality content writing is a skill that is developed over time. Keep on practicing to ensure you enhance your writing skills and build on the next level.
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